Full Frame: Virus Evolution


Full Frame: Virus Evolution

From coronavirus to influenza to Ebola, many of the world’s deadliest viruses start in animals, then jump to humans. These cross-species diseases have killed millions of people. But, could it be possible to track, map and predict the origin – before it becomes deadly?

Viruses, like the COVID-19, that jump from animals to humans are called ‘Zoonotic’ diseases and they have caused some of the world’s most devastating pandemics. The Spanish influenza of 1918 — which killed somewhere between 50 to 100 million people, worldwide – has been traced back to birds. HIV and AIDS started as a virus in monkeys. And, Ebola started in bats before it jumped to humans.

Since 1940, of the roughly 400 emerging infectious diseases that have been identified, more than 60 percent have animal origins. So, could we prevent and control these diseases – before they become full-blown pandemics – by studying animals? This week, Full Frame host Mike Walter talks with epidemiologist, Professor Jonna Mazet, to find out.

Follow Jonna Mazet on Twitter@JonnaMazet

In the 1970s, the mosquito-borne illness, Dengue Fever, was believed to be present in just nine countries, worldwide. But, because of urbanization and air travel, Dengue has now spread to at least a hundred nations. It is especially prevalent in Brazil. Full Frame host Mike Walter shows us what’s being done to fight the disease.

The most effective way to prevent infectious diseases like the COVID-19 or the influenza is to wash your hands often and stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection.

To understand how outbreaks can be controlled Full Frame host Mike Walter talks with Doctor Jeremy Brown, author of the book ‘Influenza:The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History’.